Cabo before:after 1

Organizations have worked hard to pick up the pieces after Hurricane Odile tore apart much of Cabo’s neighborhoods, destroying buildings in the process.

Faryn Masso Clark, founder of Facelogic spa, was living the good life as an expat in Cabo, but had to evacuate back to Texas after Hurricane Odile made landfall on Baja California Sur Sept. 15. “We didn’t want to leave at all,” Clark said. But, because of necessity, Clark, her husband, her three kids and their dog left two weeks ago. Today, they’re ready to go back.

And the Baja peninsula, ravaged by storms, is ready to receive them.

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They procreate like this: The Palms Private Residence Club in Playa Flamingo, Costa Rica, has signed a sponsorship agreement with the premier international second home exchange firm, 3RD HOME, that enables Palms owners (or buyers) to exchange their properties with other second (and third, and fourth) homeowners throughout the world. That opens second home stay options up to places like Costa Rica, Palm Beach, St. Barts, Paris and even Thailand –five star plus luxury vacation destination in more than 60 countries. 3RD Home now offer 372 properties across the globe.

And it’s funny that this press release crossed my desk today. Last night, at the beautiful designer Robyn Menter’s birthday celebration at Jerry Szor Contemporary Jewelry, I was talking to a couple who told me this is exatly what they wanted in a second home: no maintenance, no fuss, and not being tied down to one home ALL. THE. TIME.

So why not just stay in a hotel, piped in another guest?

Quality control, said he.

“In my years in the real estate business, I have never seen a more powerful offer for second homeowners than this one, ” said Peter Kempf with Peter Kempf International, whose company marries luxurious, high end second home properties with the perfect exchange partner. Peter is also the world’s leading expert on fractional home ownership. How to describe his background?  30 years experience in real estate and 12 years in fractional real estate. He’s worked selling and marketing multi-million dollar properties in 31 states, 22 countries, on 4 continents. He was Director of International Real Estate for Christies Great Estates, Vice President and Midwest Regional Manager for Sotheby’s International Realty, CEO/Europe for DCP International and a member of Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. Then there are his clients: the world’s most prominent CEO’s, successful entrepreneurs and, yes, celebrities. Last time I spoke to him, he was in Florence, where in the mid 90’s he launched Castello di Reschio in Umbria, Italy. His experience in Europe continues in the Private Residence Club industry and currently includes Palazzo Tornabuoni in Florence and Borgo di Vagli near Cortona.

In other words, yes, Peter Kempf is a world expert on luxurious vacation real estate.

“The relationships and member properties 3RD HOME has are some of the finest in the world from the Ritz Carlton Residences, to the Auberge Private Residences at Esperanza in Cabo San Lucas, to the Auberge Resort at Palmetto Bluff in Hilton Head that was just ranked as the #1 resort in North America by Travel + Leisure magazine.”

3RD HOME is probably the most unique international second home exchange program of its kind.  For a yearly fee, owners of high-end second homes can pool their property in a well-organized exchange pool in order to use another owner’s homes. Home values begin at $500,000. This way, second home owners are not limited to the environment of their own second home.

It’s like giving your second home infertility shots!

3RD HOME  has an amazing array of the most luxurious homes on magnificent beaches, vibrant cities and stunning mountains in their portfolio of rapidly growing residences.

About The Palms Private Residence Club:

The Palms Private Residence Club is the only luxury residence club in Guanacaste, Costa Rica. Nestled on the Pacific Coast’s pristine Playa Flamingo, each of the 32 Villas at The Palms offer stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. Offering all the advantages of vacation home ownership with the services and amenities of a first-class resort, The Palms offers its owners a luxury sanctuary and a more authentic experience. Potential owners can purchase 1/8th at $149,000 or 1/10th starting at $129,000.  For more information, please call 800-867-5762 or check out The Palms on Facebook @ Palms Villas or Twitter @palmscostarica.

I feel so sorry for our neighbor to the south. I am signed up for several Google alerts — guess which one sends me the most stories? Crime in Mexico, Mexico crime. It’s enough to make you want to never cross the border, which is not fair, of course. The entire country of Mexico is not dangerous. But the government just HAS to get a grip on the drug cartel problem.

Of course, as my Mexican friends tell me, if we Americans would stop buying drugs, there wouldn’t be a Mexico drug problem.

I love every inch of Mexico. Now comes word that, because of crime, some of the cruise lines are refusing to stop in certain Mexican ports — Mazatlan this time. The cruise line, Disney Wonder, stopped instead at beautiful Manzanillo, where we have been many times — Los Hadas, where the movie “10” was filmed, is nearby. Disney says:

“Safety is very important to us and we believe this change is necessary to provide the best family vacation experience for our guests.”

The cruise lines are also making stops in Cabo San Lucas, on the Baja California peninsula — no safety fears there.

Recent security incidents in Mazatlan — a woman had her necklace snatched from around her neck –are troubling the cruise lines, who are, after all responsible for the safety of their guests.  Of course, last year Mazatlan was bragging that Disney’s decision to resume stops at the port was a sign of growing confidence in the city, and Disney Wonder had planned 27 port calls in Mazatlan in 2011.

Believe it or not, Mazatlan has continued to thrive as a tourist destination despite drug-gang violence in other parts of Sinaloa state, where it is located, which is also Ground Zero for several Mexican cartels. You would think, of course, that all this would hurt tourism. But guess what: Mexico’s tourism revenue was up 7.1 percent in the first 10 months of 2010, compared to the same months of 2009, with visitors spending $9.8 billion, according to the Mexican Tourism Ministry. (My take: Americans will risk anything for a vacation, and vacations in Mexico fit most budgets. So the Mexican Tourism Industry is benefitting from our economic crisis.) The resort of Cancun in the Yucatan peninsula, and Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific coast, for instance, have been largely untouched by the violence.

Still, if those gross Google crime alerts continue, and be-headings and massacres keep making head-lines (pardon the sick pun), tourism and second home sales in Mexico are going to take a major hit. Stay tuned for Central America.

Would you buy a second home in Mexico?